Personally, I’m always a little hesitant when a friend asks me to review an album. Be it their own band or another, it’s obvious that they think I will enjoy it. But what if I don’t? None the less, when Decibel Geek‘s YouTube guru, “Rockin’ Ron” Runyon, asked me to do a review for Michael Morrow & The Culprits‘ Raucous album, apprehensive as I was, I agreed. Well, what a blessing in disguise so to speak. Usually a lover of the more face-melting style of traditional Heavy Metal, this album played surprisingly well for me given the Southern Blues rock flavorings and diversity contained within.
I suppose this could be considered Michael Morrow & The Culprits‘ debut recording. I say that because there appear to be two earlier releases. 2013’s Michael Morrow & The Firewater Rock n Roll Medicine Show – Hard Rock Countryfied Blues and simply under the Michael Morrow moniker was 2015’s Bad Penny. Obviously the driving force behind the outfit, Morrow is joined by Randy Mosman (Bass/Vox), Craig Jahns (Lead Guitar) and Tim Elliott (Drums/Vox) for Raucous.
Raucous literally vaults out of the gates in a blistering fashion on the title track. During the high-spirited cut, I actually laughed out loud at one point! There comes a musical break in which we get the spoken word phrase: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum”. I’m not sure if it’s the exact sound clip from the movie, but unless mistaken the line is from one of my all-time favorite movies, They Live.
“Heartbreak Woman” according to the band’s Facebook page will be receiving the video treatment in early 2018. Not as break-neck paced compared to the “Raucous” opener, but still super catchy. A little-tapered back on the tempo and a little more blues-infused, we find “Better Things” next.
It’s “Lovelorn” that’s a real deal sealer for me! This track grabbed hold quickly and rolls through the psyche well after you’ve completed listening. It features a what I would call “low down dirty groove”, some wicked guitar work, and a catchy chorus. Keep an ear out for my own podcast (CGCM Podcast) as I feature “Lovelorn” in an upcoming episode.
“Our Darkest Hour” bumps up the tempo again in another barn burner. From there forward it’s all in the same vein, yet in no way boring or repetitive. Morrow and co. seem to have that unique ability to keep it all sounding fresh. I’ve seen the description used: An amalgam of great classic rock & Michael‘s style of hard rock southern blues. Which seems accurate to me! Based in the Colorado region, the band also performs as KISS tribute band KISSm, Morrow himself portraying Paul Stanley.
Exhibiting a really nice flavor from my norm, Raucous grows on me more and more.